Just because the weather might not be warm anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy spending time on your bike. However, biking in the winter may require you to think ahead before you get in the saddle and ensure that you’re taking all the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe when cycling on the road.
To help you with both of these things, here are three tips for cycling in the winter months.
Keep Your Hands And Feet Warm
When you’re moving on your bike in the winter, it’s easy to get very cold, very fast. Even with your legs and heat pumping, it’s very likely that your extremities will get cold.
To combat this, Robert Annis and Jessica Coulon, contributors to Bicycling.com, advise that you always wear gloves whenever you’re biking in the winter, even if it’s just down the block. Since your hands are one of the first things to break the wind, you’re going to want to wear something on them. To give your hands an added layer of protection, you could wear disposable surgical gloves inside of your riding gloves. Or, if you’re needing to bring in some additional heat, you can use heat packs within your gloves, inside of your shoes, or on other areas of your body to help bring up your core temperature.
During the winter months, lactic acid builds up quicker in the cold and it is harder for your muscles to function. It is important to make sure you warm-up and stretch the muscles that are used during cycling. That way, you are minimising the risk of injury occurring.
Biking in the winter can be very dirty. Unless there’s fresh and clean snow on the ground, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be biking on dirty, slushy roads.
If this is the case, the spinning of your wheels can kick up slush and mud not only on yourself but on other cyclists or drivers around you. To keep this from happening as much, Nigel Wynn, a contributor to Cycling Weekly, suggests that you put mudguards on your tires. These guards can help to keep all the muck from flying off into your face or onto your clothes even if you ride right through a patch of some winter nastiness on the road.
Make Sure You Can Be Seen
In many areas of the world, winter weather means that the sun rises later and sets earlier. And while this isn’t necessarily enjoyable for anyone, it can be downright dangerous for road cyclists.
While it’s always important to be seen on the road, even more attention should be given to your visibility during winter cycling.
Because of this, Tyrone Holmes, a contributor to Active.com, shares that you should pull out all the stops to make yourself seen. This should include wearing bright colors, using lights and reflectors, and taking extra care during the transitions hours.
If you’re wanting to continue cycling during the winter months, consider using the tips mentioned above to do so safely.